The high-pressure defense and up-tempo pace of Dickinson was simply too much for an already short-handed Ball High team, as the Gators topped the Tors, 87-41, at home Tuesday.
“We just continued to understand what we do and what our identity is defensively,” Dickinson head coach Jason Wilson said. “It’s to continue to pressure and get as many possessions as we can out of our defense, let our defense create offensive possessions.”
Making their regular season debut, the Tors were missing four returning starters who are still suiting up for the playoff-bound football team, and a tenacious Dickinson defense forced 35 turnovers.
“Coach Wilson does a wonderful job with his guys; they play hard and play together and they’re disciplined,” Ball High head coach Jerald Temple said. “I think even at full capacity, it would still be a tough one for us.”
It was the first win of the season for the Gators, who opened with a tough loss against DeKaney on Saturday at the RCSsports Showcase at the Campbell Center, and while Tuesday’s showing was extremely impressive, Wilson feels like his young team has plenty of areas in which to improve, chief among them on-court communication.
“Losing eight seniors is tough, you’re going to have some lumps that you’re going to have to smooth out,” Wilson said. “We’re getting there. With a lot of young, real talented kids, there’s not really an in-between — it’s either really good or really bad. So, we’re going to continue to progress throughout the year.”
If there was a saving grace for Ball High on Tuesday, the game did serve as an opportunity for the Tors’ less experienced players to get some significant game action.
“This experience they’re getting today is golden; it’s going to benefit them throughout the rest of the season,” Temple said. “We’re probably going to have a couple more games like this, because it looks like our football team is going to continue to do well, and we want them to go as far as they can. So, we’ll have to hold down the fort until they get back.”
A 10-0 run, led by five points from Gary Horton (16 points total, all in the first half) turned a 3-1 Ball High lead into an 11-3 Dickinson advantage, and the Gators never looked back after that.
Leading 13-7 midway through the first quarter, a pair of 3-pointers from Ronny Nguyen (9 points) and 5 points from Quante Julien (14 points) fueled a 13-1 run to build an 18-point lead.
A basket from Kevin Shinette (8 points) and a pair of free throws by Tre’Von Hamilton (11 points, four rebounds) saw the Tors cut their deficit to 26-12 at the end of the first quarter, and Shinette banked in a 3-pointer to start the second quarter to get Ball High within 11 points.
With the score at 31-19 following a Hamilton bucket, the Gators embarked on a 15-2 run led by a pair of 3-pointers by Tramon Mark (14 points, six rebounds, 11 points in second quarter), 5 points from Horton and 4 points from Kevin Walker (6 points, four rebounds) for a 25-point lead.
Dickinson took a 55-26 lead into the halftime break, and led by 11 second-half points from Deuce Guidry (15 points) and nine second-half points by Julien, the Gators kept the Tors at bay in the final two quarters to close the game out.
Other standouts for Dickinson included Byron Staten (six points, 11 rebounds) and Rodric Artmore (seven points).
Other notable Tors performances came from Giovanni Janke (seven points) and Quinton Cooper (six points, 11 rebounds, four blocks).
Up next for Dickinson will be a trip to the McDonalds Texas Invitational tournament in Pasadena on Thursday through Saturday. Ball High remains on the road with a game at Clear Creek at 7 p.m. Friday.